Black Cohosh: Proud and protective

This is a bottle brush fruit-bearing perennial, classified as Actaea racemosa. It is also known as Bugbane, as it protects itself by repelling bugs. (These stately spires were photographed on the Mountains To The Sea trail leading from the Mills Gap Overlook).

Black Cohosh elevates the body’s estrogen levels, and presents a luteinizing hormone, (follicle-stimulating) which typically are suppressed in premenopausal women. Some researchers believe that black cohosh exerts its effects through a brain-related action, such as modulation of serotonergic pathways, also acting as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory. This ties in with historical Native American uses. Today it is looked upon as a selective estrogen receptor modulator.

Native Americans used it for generations to treat musculoskeletal pain, fever, cough, and pneumonia.

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